PNC in the News

Erik Meijaard, Conservation Scientiest (Tempo) - 29 July 2012
As the ‘earth’s lungs’ or ‘land of orangutans’ with its rich wildlife, Indonesia has devoted little effort into studying conservation. In 2008, one Dutch conservation scientist was awarded the Victor E. Shelford Award for promoting conservation science in Indonesia. » Full article (PDF)

Fishermen blast premier dive sites off Indonesia (Jakarta Post) - 20 April 2012
Coral gardens that were among Asia's most spectacular, teeming with colorful sea life just a few months ago, have been transformed into desolate gray moonscapes by fishermen who use explosives or cyanide to kill or stun their prey. » Full article

L'"homme de la forêt" victime de l'huile de palme (Le Monde) - 22 December 2011
Le point commun entre les orangs-outans d'Indonésie et le FC Barcelone ? Carles Puyol. Le capitaine du club de football espagnol, victorieux de la Coupe du monde 2010, a accepté d'être le porte-parole de ces paisibles primates, dont la population diminue chaque année du fait de la déforestation et du braconnage. Editées par le Partenariat pour la survie des grands singes (Grasp, Nations unies) et l'association International Animal Rescue, les affiches de cette campagne de sensibilisation montrent le sportif vedette debout devant des photos d'orangs-outans emprisonnés ou maltraités, avec cette interpellation : "I Care. Do you ?" ("Je m'en préoccupe ? Et vous ?") » Full article

Fresh wave of killings by hunters takes Indonesian orangutan to the brink of extinction (The Observer/The Guardian) - 27 November 2011
Conservationists have called on the Indonesian authorities to take urgent action to save the orangutan after a report warned that the endangered great apes were being hunted at a rate that could bring them to the brink of extinction. Erik Meijaard, who led a team carrying out the first attempt to assess the scale of the problem in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, said the results showed that between 750 and 1,800 orangutans were killed as a result of hunting and deforestation in the 12 months to April 2008. » Full article

Humans killing at least 750 Bornean orang-utans a year (New Scientist) - 15 November 2011
Indonesians are killing endangered orang-utans at an alarming rate. At least 750 were killed in one recent year, according to a new survey. The survey focused on Bornean orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus) living in Kalimantan, the Indonesian side of the island of Borneo. Led by Erik Meijaard of People and Nature Consulting International in Jakarta, Indonesia, researchers interviewed 6983 people from 687 villages between April 2008 and September 2009 about bushmeat. » Full article

Borneo's Endangered Orangutans Pay Price of Progress (Voice of America) - 1 November 2011
Just a week after the last known Javan rhino was reported dead in Vietnam, a new study shows that orangutan hunting is on the rise in one of that animal's last refuges, the Borneo region of Kalimantan. With swathes of forests being cleared for industry, the endangered primates are entering villages and plantations for food - leading villagers to kill them as pests or to eat them. » Full article

When a Lie Comes to Life (CIFOR Blog) - 21 September 2011
BOGOR, Indonesia (21 September, 2011). Douglas Sheil and Erik Meijaard launched CoFCCloT in August 2011. A Google search for CoFCCloT results in 138,000 hits just now. Not bad for an organization that doesn't exist. » Full article

Conservation Equality – Demanding the same from Industrialized Nations as They Demand of Us (The OilPalm) - 6 September 2011
Amidst continuous claims from environmental NGOs over deforestation and the impact of agriculture expansion in the developing world, an organization has sought to bring some balance to the debate by suggesting forest conservation be equitable among all countries. The Coalition of Financially Challenged Countries with Lots of Trees (CoFCCLoT) recently issued a statement calling on G8 countries and the EU to commit to reforestation equal to the share of forests developing countries are being asked to preserve by industrialized nations and environmental NGOs. » Full article

Reasons to make a mockery of conservation science (The Guardian) - 24 August 2011
Britain should reintroduce wolves and bears, Greece should allow lions to roam the Pindos mountains and gorillas might be suited for Spain, a group of some of the world's poorest countries is demanding. In addition, says the Coalition of Financially Challenged Countries with Lots of Trees (Cofcclot), the G8 countries should plant up to 75% of their land with trees to stabilise the global climate. » Full article

Lions in Greece, the Reforestation of the West and the Use of Satire in Environmental Conservation (ScienceDaily) - 17 August 2011
As the Greek economy maintains its slide towards default and the global climate continues to change for the worse, one organisation, writing in Biotropica, has come up with some novel answers to both problems. Reforest the country to offset historic deforestation and reintroduce long extinct animals such as lions, boosting the economy through eco-tourism. » Full article

A Moratorium, or More of the Same? (The Jakarta Globe) - 16 June 2011
In December 2007, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched Indonesia's orangutan conservation strategy and action plan, which calls for all wild orangutan populations to be viable and stable by 2017. The plan calls for an end to the destruction of orangutan habitat. Without such action, populations will not be stabilized by 2017. To these ends, last month came the presidential instruction many of us hoped would be a step in the right direction. » Full article

Marine-protected areas planned to replenish fish stocks (The Brunei Times) - 10 June 2011
The government will soon establish a network of marine-protected areas (MPA) to ensure the conservation of Brunei's marine life and the replenishment of depleted fish stocks, the Minister of Industry of Primary Resources (MIPR) announced yesterday. » Full article

'No-take' areas good for ecosystem, economy: experts (The Brunei Times) - 10 June 2011
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), particularly "no-take" areas where fishing is prohibited, will not only improve the health of underwater ecosystems but also benefit the well-being of humans through the long-term results of ecological and socio-economic sustainability. » Full article

Incentives mulled for scaleback of fishing activities (The Brunei Times) - 10 June 2011
The government is studying the viability of providing economic incentives for local fisherman to scale back their activities once the authorities restrict or potentially ban fishing in marine protected areas (MPA). » Full article

Setting up no-fishing zones in Brunei proposed (The Brunei Times) - 08 June 2011
The Fisheries Department has been urged to establish multiple marine reserves to facilitate the department's fisheries management operations which will ultimately benefit Brunei both environmentally and economically in the long run.
Dr Peter J Mous, a fisheries and protected areas specialist who was recently involved in doing a feasibility study on setting up marine protected areas (MPAs) in Brunei said that the department would not have to "start from scratch" as zoned marine areas were already in place. » Full article

Where Have All the Geckos Gone? (The Jakarta Globe) - 28 May 2011
The call of the tokek, or gecko, is one of the most familiar sounds in Indonesia. Next to the smell of clove cigarettes, the calls to prayer, the friendly smiles and the ferocious afternoon rainstorms, it stands as one of the most easily identifiable characteristics of the country. But when did you last hear a gecko call? When we recently considered this question, we couldn't help but suspect that geckos are growing increasingly rare. We asked 65 Indonesian colleagues working in environmental research and natural resource management, and found that two-thirds of them felt that geckos were less common now than 10 years ago. » Full article

Indonesia Has Its Share Of Scientists, So Where's the Science? (The Jakarta Globe) - 23 March 2011
In 2007, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched Indonesia's national orangutan action plan, which calls for all remaining wild populations of orangutans to be stabilized by 2017. It is both an ambitious goal and a highly laudable one. But with regard to the specific plan, how does the president know whether it is a good one? Under ideal conditions, this is where good scientists enter the picture. They should be able to tell the president that his government - hypothetically speaking - has invested $20 million into implementing the plan, has secured 30 percent of the remaining wild orangutan populations and is perfectly on track to achieve its 2017 target. Unfortunately, it's not possible to say any of this because we haven't got much of a clue about what has been done and what has been achieved. » Full article

Conservation Better Get Used to Working With Business (The Jakarta Globe) - 11 March 2011
Conservation organizations in Indonesia have a love-hate relationship with big business. Companies in the pulp and paper, palm oil, mining and timber industries have at various stages been approached by conservation groups who sought their collaboration. But more often, these conservation groups have aggressively attacked such companies for their perceived role in deforestation and environmental degradation. PNC's Erik Meijaard argues for a more constructive rather than destructive engagement of the businesses involved in natural-resource management and extraction. » Full article

Indonesia Needs to Get the Message Out: Killing Wildlife Is a Punishable Crime (The Jakarta Globe) - 26 December 2010
Indonesia is famed for its wildlife diversity. Straddling the contact zone between Asia and Australia, evolution has created some of the earth's most remarkable species here. Think babirusa , Komodo dragon, orangutan and birds of paradise, and you get the picture. PNC's Erik Meijaard argues that much of this diversity is threatened not just by habitat loss but by rampant hunting. The Indonesian authorities seem to do little about it. » Full article

Carbon Emission Reduction Strategies May Undermine Tropical Biodiversity Conservation, Conservationists Warn (ScienceDaily) - 25 November 2010
Conservationists have warned that carbon emission reduction strategies such as REDD may undermine, not enhance, long-term prospects for biodiversity conservation in the tropics. Their warning comes only days ahead of the Cancun COP 16 climate change talks (Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, 2010)…. Lead author Dr Gary Paoli of Daemeter Consulting in Indonesia explained: 'Biodiversity and forest carbon are correlated at a global scale but we show that this is not the case at sub-national levels in Indonesia. This creates a trade-off between the emission reduction potential and biodiversity value of different ecosystems. In short, the highest carbon savings are not necessarily located in places with the highest levels of species diversity….. Co-author Dr Erik Meijaard of People and Nature Consulting International commented: 'A target-based approach also respects the sovereignty of countries to prepare their own targets, and fulfils objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, both for recipient (tropical) countries and donor (developed) nations who are signatories to the convention.' » Full article

Island orangs descend from small group (Science News) - 22 November 2010
Orangutans on the island of Borneo descend from a relatively small number of ancestors who apparently squeezed through a rough patch about 176,000 years ago, according to the broadest genetic analysis to date of their species…. Orangutan history has been complex, says conservation geneticist Erik Meijaard, of the Jakarta-based firm People & Nature Consulting International. A simple bottleneck may be the most straightforward explanation for the recent shared ancestry, he says. But some more complex scenario involving extinctions and repopulations might also fit the data. » Full article

Hope for orang utans in Malaysia and Indonesia (Joniston Bangkuai, New Straits Times) - 25 September 2010
KOTA KINABALU: Researchers in Malaysia and Indonesia have found that some forests which are sustainably logged and those used for harvesting pulp and paper can still serve as habitats for the orang utan. This is welcome news for conservationists because the endangered species is facing extinction. "Their natural habitats in Indonesia and Malaysia have been much reduced in size and fragmented, while the hunting of these apes continue," said Dr Erik Meijaard, the lead author of a study on orang utans in acacia plantations which was recently published in the journal, PlosONE. » Full article

Orangutans are more resilient than researchers thought (Digital Journal) – 24 September 2010
There is hope yet for the orangutan in forest plantations and sustainably logged forests. Selectively logged forests and timber plantations can serve as habitat for orangutans, and populations of the ape may be more resilient than previously believed. A team of researchers led by Erik Meijaard of Jakarta-based People and Nature Consulting International has found roughly equivalent population densities between natural forest areas and two plantation concessions in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. » Full article

Orangutans can survive in timber plantations, selectively logged forests (Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com) – 23 September 2010
Selectively logged forests and timber plantations can serve as habitat for orangutans, suggesting that populations of the endangered ape may be more resilient than previously believed, reports research published in the journal PlosONE. The study, conducted by a team of researchers led by Erik Meijaard of Jakarta-based People and Nature Consulting International, found roughly equivalent population densities between natural forest areas and two pulp and paper plantation concessions in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. » Full article

Study Says Orangutans Not So Solitary (Associated Press) – 12 August 2010
When British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace arrived in Borneo's jungles 150 years ago, one of his great hopes was to see orangutans. Even he was surprised at his success, spotting the red apes feeding along river banks, swinging between branches and staring down from trees almost the moment he arrived.
He saw 29 — shooting more than half of them and sending their skins and skeletons back home — in just 100 days, an experience shared by many other adventurers and collectors during the same period. » Full article

Hunting a key factor in orangutan's decline, study suggests (National Geographic) – 12 August 2010
Humans entering the forests of Borneo 150 years ago were six times more likely to encounter wild orangutans than they would today, a new study finds. The researchers suspect that heavy hunting over the years is to blame. The finding means our understanding of the lives and behaviors of the great ape is based on artificially low population densities. We may need to rethink what we know about our nearest animal relative. » Full article

Orangutan populations collapse in pristine forest areas (Mongabay) – 12 August 2010
Orangutan encounter rates have fallen six-fold in Borneo over the past 150 years, report researchers writing in the journal PLoS One. Erik Meijaard, an ecologist with People and Nature Consulting International, and colleagues compared present-day encounter rates with collection rates from naturalists working in the mid-19th Century. They found orangutans are much rarer today even in pristine forest areas. » Full article

Expedition records show severe orangutan decline (Discover Blog) – 12 August 2010
"I heard a rustling in a tree near, and, looking up, saw a large red-haired animal moving slowly along, hanging from the branches by its arms. It passed on from tree to tree until it was lost in the jungle, which was so swampy that I could not follow it." These are the words of the great naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, describing how he caught sight of his very first orangutan. Around two weeks later, Wallace found his second individual and, as you would expect for a 19th century British explorer, he shot it dead. » Full article

Hunting a key factor in Orangutan's decline (TRAFFIC) – 11 August 2010
Hunting appears to have been significantly underestimated as a key reason for the historical decline of Orangutans, according to a new study published today. An international team of scientists noted how animal collectors operating in the mid-19th Century in Borneo were able to shoot Orangutans on a daily basis and speculated that 150 years ago, encounter rates with the forest primates must have been far higher than they are today. To test the hypothesis, the researchers attempted to quantify historic encounter rates from information contained in hunting accounts and museum collections and comparing them to recent field studies.
"Even after allowing for variations in the size and length of hunting and survey expeditions and other variables, we estimated that daily encounter rates with Orangutans have declined by about six-fold in areas with little or no forest disturbance," said Dr Erik Meijaard, of People and Nature Consulting International in Indonesia, the lead author of the study. » Full article

Indonesian people-not international donors or orangutan conservationists-will determine the ultimate fate of Indonesia's forests (Mongabay) - July 29, 2010
Is there a future for Indonesia's red apes and their forest home? Erik Meijaard, an ecologist who has worked in Indonesia since 1993 and is considered a world authority on orangutan populations, is cautiously optimistic, although he sees no 'silver bullet' solutions.
"Conservation is incredibly complex," he explained during a July interview with mongabay.com. "When people talk about something not being rocket science, I ask them to consider conservation science instead. Sending a rocket into space is child's play compared to finding optimal solutions to complex conservation problems that combine ecological, geological, economic, social, political, cultural, psychological, and other factors." » Full article

Time running out for orangutans: conservationists (AFP) - 20 December 2009
Erik Meijaard, who studies orangutans in Indonesia, claims that deforestation is responsible for the loss of up to 3,000 orangutans a year in Borneo. "If we are losing them at the rate that we are losing now, they are going to be pretty much gone in 15 to 20 years," says the ecologist from the Indonesia-based People and Nature Consulting International. » Full Article

Acacia plantations are not good orangutan habitat, says Erik Meijaard (Kompas) - 17 November 2009
Recent studies by Erik and colleagues have shown that significant numbers of orangutans survive in the acacia plantation areas in East Kalimantan. This has given the impression to some that acacia plantations are good orangutan habitat. Erik clarifies in this article that although acacia provides some food to orangutans, the long term survival of this great ape will depend on maintaining a matrix of good forest with plenty of fruit within the plantations areas. » Full Article

PNC's Erik Meijaard is interviewed about the Orangutans' struggle to survive as palm oil booms (Agence France-Presse) - 22 October 2009
Cinta, a baby orangutan found lost and alone in a vast Borneo palm oil plantation, now clings to a tree at a sanctuary for the great apes, staring intently at dozens of tourists. She is one of the casualties of the boom in palm oil -- used extensively for biofuel and processed food like margarine -- which has seen swathes of jungle felled in Borneo, an island split between Malaysia and Indonesia... » Full Article

Erik Meijaard comments on Indonesia's costly plan to slash carbon emissions (Radio Australia) - 1 September 2009
Indonesia says it could cut its carbon emissions by more than 40 per cent by 2030, by reducing deforestation, peatland degradation and power use.
But this ambitious target won't come cheap - the Government's National Climate Change Council estimates the cost of achieving this reduction will be more than $US30 billion. Just who should pay for this and how is one of the many sticking points leading up to the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen later this year.. » Full Article

Based on a conference presentation in Malaysia, PNC's Erik Meijaard is quoted in the World Growth Forestry and Poverty Project Newsletter - Issue 7, October 2009
Meijaard's program had confirmed populations of 3000 orang-utans living in acacia plantation areas in Borneo. The orang-utans were gaining part of their dietary requirements from the acacia trees themselves, although Meijaard was quick to point out that acacia bark was no substitute for a balanced diet from natural forests as well as plantations.
Meijaard stated that there were "real opportunities" for the pulp and paper sector to collaborate on conservation programs. » Full Article



Dr. Erik Meijaard, PNCI
For further media outreach, also see Erik Meijaard's conservation blog
at Mongabay.